So this is it. After 4.5 years of bantering about family life in Beijing, it is time for me to collect my things and head to the airport. Okay, that won’t actually happen for 10 more days, but the movers are here and they are starting to close in on my computer. Although I’ve been blogging for Beijing Kids since 2010, we arrived in Beijing 7 years ago, just before some long forgotten sporting event. In the spirit of the games, I pass on the Beijing torch to you, dear readers, with these parting words of wisdom.
Do something new. It doesn’t matter what, but venture out into the city and experience something different. This is especially true after the newness of it all wears off after the first six months or so. Join a group, go down an unfamiliar road, try a new restaurant, visit a TCM doctor, take up dancing – just don’t settle for routine. If you cannot think of something new to try, might I suggest having twins? You’re right; Salsa dancing in the park at night does sound easier.
Drats, one of the movers is knocking on the office door, so I’ll make this quick.
Leave Beijing and explore other parts of China. Sure, Shanghai is an okay start, but China is a vast nation and the farther away you travel, the greater the diversity you will encounter. My favorites region thus far is southwest China, but I regret not getting to the northwest too. Perhaps next time.
Continue to make new friends. Expat buddies are great. Making friends with locals is a no-brainer. But the longer you stay, the more friends you will lose. Don’t pine for those who have moved on to other parts of the globe. Get out and make some new friends. Sure, it can be painful to loose a best friend, but there is always room for a new one. Besides, the longer you live in the ‘Jing, the more you can help others get around.
I’m nearly out of time as my beloved iMac is the last thing to pack up and they are fiddling with the power strip.
The most important piece of advice I can offer to anyone in Beijing is to simply be.
Photo: Christopher Lay